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Berkshire Hathaway operating profit 20% better

Staff writer |
Berkshire Hathaway reported that its operating profit for the first quarter grew by roughly 20% on a year-over-year basis.

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Bolstered by gains in its insurance and railroad division, Berkshire Hathaway posted net earnings of $5.16 billion for the first quarter, compared with $4.70 billion in the first quarter of 2014.

Berkshire's BNSF railroad division finished the quarter with a net income of $1.045 billion, up from $724 million over the same period last year.

The Omaha-based company also beat analysts' forecasts of $3.6 billion in net earnings. In addition, Berkshire Hathaway earned $3,143 per Class A share, up from $2,862 per share in the first quarter last year. Last August, Berkshire Hathaway's Class A shares moved above $200,000 per share for the first time in company history.

Berkshire Hathaway fully owns insurance giant GEICO, fast-food restaurant Dairy Queen, specialty chemicals company The Lubrizol Corporation, Helzberg Diamonds, FlightSafety International and NetJets among others.

It also owns percentages in American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, IBM, Wells Fargo, and Heinz. Earlier in the quarter, Berkshire Hathaway orchestrated a merger between Heinz and Kraft Foods Group.

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